I married into my hairdresser, much the way I’d married into four children when I married my husband nearly 21 years ago. Apparently, the hair salon my children visited regularly was part of the marital agreement, but it agreed with me. (My premarital hairstylist lost my confidence when she constructed a bird’s nest atop my hair for the wedding day. My daughter shares that story on her blog, BoredMomBlog.) The four children became five, and we populated Hair Hunters every six weeks with a stack of library books in hand. I would sit with the remaining children, reading aloud, while one got his or her hair cut; those days I got my hair done, I hired a babysitter. But as my children have grown and left the nest (no reflection on my hair, thank you), they’ve found their own hairstylists. This past year or so, I’ve headed to the salon alone — and when my job changed, I had to wonder if it were time to find a salon more convenient to either home or work… Hence, this letter:
As usual, I didn’t plan ahead and so called for an appointment “some late evening this week, if Jackie’s available.” Surprisingly, I was able to get a cut and a eyebrow wax the next evening.
I was driving to Hair Hunters for my 6 p.m. appointment yesterday, and when it took four light changes to get through a crowded intersection — just one of many I encountered in the distance between work and the salon — I thought it was time to find a stylist close to work or home. I kept myself calm only by reminding myself that my car clock was a couple minutes fast and I would not be late, despite the delays caused by congestion.
I arrived a couple minutes early, found a parking spot on my first loop through the lot, entered Hair Hunters, where the receptionist told me you could take me now. I could see you tucking a color customer under a blow dryer, but once I entered your work area, you greeted me as if I were your only concern.
“You’ve lost weight,” you told me, as I seated myself in your chair. I said I didn’t think I had, and you said,
“Well, if you look tall and thin wearing horizontal stripes [as I was], you’re doing OK.”
Feeling good, I sat, allowed you to drape me with your cape, take my glasses and earrings for safe keeping, brush out my hair.
I knew I needed a hair cut — and a style change — but had no idea what I wanted. All it took was a “I need a change” from me, and you made suggestions and started cutting. I sat, relaxed, knowing I could trust you.
All the while you cut, you asked me about my family members — about my grandson, my husband, each of my five children. We chatted companionably like old friends. When you waxed my eyebrows — knowing exactly what these unruly, wiry hairs needed — I thought how glad I was to be under your care.
When you were finished with me, I put on my earrings and my glasses, and you walked me to the receptionist to write me a ticket and help select a hair product, gave me a quick hug, and said goodbye.
All I could think was that fighting traffic to get to you was completely worth it.